My Ex Will Not Comply With Custody or Visitation Orders
For many individuals facing divorce, the biggest issues revolve around custody and visitation orders issues. Courts are tasked with finding in the best interest of the child(ren), which does not always work out so well for one parent. That being said, visitation orders are legal requirements, and if your former spouse is not living up to those requirements, it may be time to take your complaint to an experienced family law attorney.
Preparing for Shared Custody
A custody order has the power of the law behind it, and enforcing it benefits children and parents alike. Experts suggest parents take some basic steps in order to help things proceed smoothly:
Make sure that your order is crystal clear about visitation details. Issues related to holidays, child and parent birthdays, and school breaks are essential.
Ensure that your current custody/visitation orders are easily available to you and to any other parties who are involved in the visitation. For example, if the child exchange occurs at the home of a neutral party, that individual should have a copy of the order, as well.
In the event that you and/or your former spouse experiences significant changes that will impact the court-ordered agreement, quickly get a new one. Issues that might predicate going back to court include:
- One parent moving;
- A change in where a child attends school;
- Changes in medical requirements for a child;
- Job changes that impact custody/visitation issues;
- Other needs of the child that may require changing the order.
Enforcing Custody Visitation Orders
Even if you do everything right, there is still the possibility that your former spouse will make things difficult when it comes to exchanging the child(ren). If you find yourself pulling your hair out because your ex will not comply with the visitation orders, you have several options:
- Asking local police to enforce the order by accompanying you for the child exchange;
- Asking the county district attorney in the Child Abduction and Recovery Unit to look into your case;
- Filing a contempt action through your attorney in order to have the court enforce sanctions on your ex for not complying with the court order.
Consequences of Contempt
When one partner refuses to comply with a court visitation orders, the consequences can range from a simple warning—which can be effective in many cases—to much more serious sanctions. While rare, it is possible non-compliant parents could be forced to spend a day or two in jail to contemplate their actions. More likely, though, a new order will be drafted to make up for the time missed with your child(ren), and potentially giving you more time down the road.
Any action taken to enforce custody and visitation orders must be taken with care, as the last thing you want is for your children to suffer as a result of your pursuits. At Beck Family Law, we proceed gently, but we vigorously fight for your rights. If your visitation order matter is in Lake County, Mendocino County or Sonoma County, contact our Santa Rosa office to schedule a confidential consultation today.